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Dropout & Truancy Prevention

Efforts to improve school attendance and reduce dropout rates are part of the larger effort to increase achievement and close performance gaps between student subgroups. Safe and healthy schools – ones that employ a challenging curriculum and reinforce high expectations for academics, behavior, and social responsibility – are schools that motivate students to attend.

"Truancy" means unexcused absence from school. However, there is an important distinction between truants and chronic truants. A student displays truant behavior with a single unexcused absence from school, but a student needs to reach or surpass a certain number of unexcused absences to be considered a chronic truant. Virginia law does not define a truant specifically but does define a child who is habitually and without justification absent from school as a "child in need of supervision" when certain other conditions are met.

A dropout is a former student who: 

  • Was enrolled in school at some time during the previous school year and was not enrolled on October 1 of the current school year, or
  • Was not enrolled on October 1 of the previous school year although expected to be in membership ; and 
  • Has not graduated from high school or completed a state- or district-approved educational program and does not meet any of the following exclusionary conditions:
    • Transfer to another public school district, private school, or state- or district-approved education program;
    • Temporary school-recognized absence due to suspension or illness;
    • Death.

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